Point earns first win of the season behind late game heroics from Caleb Wade
Published 8:07 pm Saturday, September 9, 2023
By Pacey Strickland
The Point Skyhawks came away with their first win of the season as they defeated Thomas University at home 20-17
The game came down to the very last play. Chris Carter attempted a deep pass into the endzone, but Caleb Wade came up with the game-sealing interception.
“All I’m thinking is ballgame, it’s ballgame,” Wade said about the play. “I’ve got to read one, go to three. He missed his check down, he chunks it deep. It’s game, it’s over.”
Point was in dire need of a win after starting the season 0-2. Now, the team just hopes to continue building on this momentum.
“It’s awesome,” Wade said. “It’s just going to get the ball rolling. It starts here. We’ve got to keep the momentum going into next week.”
The win does more for the Skyhawks’ mentality than anything else. Point needed the win to get their confidence back.
“We really needed it mentally,” Head Coach Zeiders said. “I think that, from the mental aspect, it was one of those where we needed something positive to happen.”
Point’s offense dominated on the first drive. Mitchell Gossett led the Skyhawks straight down the field and capped off the drive with a five-yard passing touchdown to Emery Bryant. The extra point gave Point a 7-0 lead with 9:54 left in the first quarter.
The Skyhawks stood tall on the next drive as Dakota Fishback broke up a pass on fourth down to get the stop at Point’s 28.
Kareem Keye fumbled on the ensuing drive, and Thomas finally got an opportunity to strike back.
The NightHawks finished off the 49-yard drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown. The extra point tied the game at 7 with 12:48 left in the 3rd.
Gossett found Bryant again as he made a diving catch on a 31-yard touchdown pass to give the Skyhawks the lead. The extra point gave Point a 14-7 lead with 8:12 left in the 2nd.
Gossett’s connection with Bryant and Keye throughout the game is one of the biggest positives for Point’s coaching staff.
“I mean, it’s there,” Zeiders said. “He just needs to keep going through his reads properly. Emery and Kareem Keye had phenomenal games today. If it’s not for those two, we’re probably not in that game.”
Thomas struck back late in the first half as they drove 75 yards and completed a seven-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it 14-14 with 5:48 left in the second quarter.
Gossett connected on big passes to Bryant and Keye. Christian Ceja connected on a 27-yard field goal to give the Skyhawks a 17-14 lead at halftime.
The offensive output slowed considerably in the second half. Thomas finally scored on a 36-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17.
Thomas attempted an onside kick on the next drive, and it came back to bite them. Point took over on Thomas’ 47, and Ceja hit the 25-yard field goal to give the Skyhawks the 20-17 lead.
“He was instrumental in the win today,” Zeiders said. “He had eight points. If it’s not for those eight points, we don’t win that football game. He’s getting more and more confident, and as that confidence grows I think he’s going to be really good until it’s all said and done.”
The Skyhawks bent on defense several times, but they did not break. Thomas had several opportunities to take over the game in the second half. Point’s defense stepped up and held Thomas to field goals, or Thomas turned the ball over on downs.
“It’s always been a bend but don’t break philosophy,” Zeiders said. “We don’t mind giving up some things. They made the plays when they needed to make them, none bigger than Caleb Wade’s interception to finish it off. If he doesn’t pick that, they may have another down. I’m not sure what happens.”
Up next for Point is a matchup against Lindsey Wilson on the road. Going into the next week, Zeiders is still looking to clean up some things.
“We still are tackling not as well as I’d like us to,” Zeiders said. “We’ve got to figure out how to run the ball. We struggled running the ball today.”